Ducks vie for season sweep of ailing Avalanche
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Anaheim Ducks and the Colorado Avalanche had yet to meet as January was about to finish its second week. But on Tuesday night at the Honda Center, the teams will conclude their season series with their third game against each other in 20 days.
The Ducks already won the series by taking the first two games. Anaheim began the series with a 4-1 win on Jan. 12 in Denver, as Ducks goalie John Gibson made 33 saves for his fifth victory in six games.
"Our goaltending has been pretty good throughout the whole season," Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf told NHL.com afterward. Gibson has won nine of his past 11 decisions and leaves the All-Star break ranked 11th in both victories (19) and goals-against average (2.32) among NHL goalies.
In their next contest against Colorado, the Ducks scored two late goals to rally for a 2-1 victory Jan. 19 after right winger Jakob Silfverberg left the game. Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov checked Silfverberg hard into the right corner of the Ducks' zone early in the third period.
Silfverberg, whose plus-13 rating leads the team, sustained a head injury and missed the next three games.
Silfverberg and center Nate Thompson, who tore his Achilles tendon in July, skated Monday but their status is not known for Tuesday night. Anaheim is one point behind the San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers, who share first place in the Pacific Division.
"We know we just have to get our foot in the door and the playoffs are a whole new ballgame," All-Star center Ryan Kesler told ESPN.com.
The Avalanche, however, own the NHL's worst record and are preparing for the March 1 trade deadline. Attracting the most attention are leading goal scorer Matt Duchene and left winger Gabriel Landeskog, the team captain. But any team that wants them will play a high price.
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch wrote Friday that the Avalanche would want a top-four defenseman, a leading prospect and a No. 1 draft pick -- at the very least -- for the 26-year-old Duchene, who will consume $6 million of a team's salary cap for each of the next two seasons.
"The asking price doesn't stop there," Garrioch wrote. "Indications are there has to be more in the deal for Colorado than those elements."
Meanwhile, Bleacher Report's Adrian Dater tweeted Saturday from the All-Star festivities that "after talking with sources in LA, at bare minimum it'll take young, established D player and 1st-round pick to get either Duchene or Landy.'
Duchene appears resigned to the possibility of leaving the only NHL team he has ever played with.
"I'm open to it," Duchene told the Denver Post. "When I say open to it, I know it's part of the business, and it's something that might happen. I'm not hiding from it. I'm not running away. I'm not banging my head. I understand it's part of what we deal with as pro athletes."
At least one of the Avalanche's regular starters will not be in Anaheim.
Goalie Semyon Varlamov had groin surgery Thursday and will miss the rest of the season. Calvin Pickard and Spencer Martin, recalled from San Antonio of the American Hockey League on Jan. 18, will split time in the nets.